Factors In School Connectedness

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All interview participants answered questions about factors that influence a student’s school connectedness. The questions allowed the participants to elaborate on how connectedness affected them, who influenced the connectedness with their school, and if gender or ethnicity are factors in school connectedness.
Family Influence
The first theme that emerged from the pilot study was “Family Influence” and the subthemes of Parent Influence and Friend Influence on the connectedness of students. The participants shared stories of who had the biggest influence on them with getting involved with the school and how provided examples of how peers shared their school influenced. Although some participants discussed other family members, the major
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Through the conversations with students, they said parents supported their involvement with school and this helped with their connectedness. Anna said “my mom thought it was a good idea to be involved” and Charlene explained that “neither my parents did anything after school so, my mom she pushes me.” When Joe was asked about his parent support for school involvement he said,“neither of my parents went to college or anything, but they still want me to do my best and still push me to do whatever.”
Friend influence. During the discussion about peers, the students shared their friends influenced their decisions to be involved with the school. Anna said “a group of me and my friends we all ran (participated in) student council.”
Friend support. Friendships made through school involvement have helped students cope with the stress of school. Anna said: my peers have influenced me to just (like) stick through and (like) push through (like) it a class is hard to be (like) we can work on it together or (if like) swim practice is hard that day we know that like will get through it
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The school itself can create an atmosphere that influences the connectedness of students. Charlene said, “if you’re connected to your teachers because some of them are like parents and some people you spend all day with are like your brothers and sisters. So it’s kind of like a second family in a way.” Michelle added that spending long hours at school (from being involved) creates a home atmosphere for students. Anna described her connectedness created by involvement as “school is fun.’
School activities. There are many things that occur in school that influence the atmosphere of the building. School activities promote a positive school atmosphere because of student involvement. Michelle said, “promoting pride through pep rallies” and “encouraging people to come to outside of school events (where they) would meet people that are already involved in there and they would encourage them to get involved.”
Joe, who is not involved with any specific sport or club, still feels connected to school through participation in school activities. He said, “I go to football games on Friday and I like seeing all the kids get together for one cause of whatever. To support the team.” Furthermore, Charlene said school-wide activities have benefitted her because it brings everyone together. She
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